You know what last week’s Grey’s Anatomy was? A GODDAMN DELIGHT, that’s what. Admittedly it did take me a few days to pull my head out of the oven, what with the episode being as depressing as Silkwood or maybe even The Deer Hunter, but I was raised Catholic, so I love that kind of stuff. Seriously, this was one of the heaviest episodes they’ve aired this season but also, in my opinion, one of the best.
The episode begins as it ended last week, with Her Majesty The Pomp snoring away in bed with her completely ineffective Breathe-Right strip on. Shepherd, for his part, is miserable after another nonrestful night of nonsleep. Plus I think he finally realized he’s been schtupping the love child of Sissy Spacek and Oscar the Grouch, which can’t be good for his ego.
Ooh… throw Alan Alda in there and this could get HOT
In the kitchen, an amused Izzie watches as George suddenly notices that the $8.7 million check is missing from the refrigerator door. He panics, thinking the check has gone lost, but Izzie remains blasé, lost in yet another of her daily My Little Pony daydreams. She lets George squirm a tad longer and then tells him the check is at the bank. George remains incredulous for far too long—seriously George, STOP BEING SO INCREDULOUS, this isn’t OPRAH’S FAVORITE THINGS—but then settles into nouveau-riche jubilation. He reminds Izzie that it’s a lot of money, so she can travel! buy things! something about “gather ye rosebuds”! George becomes positively giddy.
At work, Dr. Montgomery gets trapped in the hallway between Dr. Sloan and Alex, which is awkward as shit. Then Thatcher Grey, the Grand Poobah of Awkwardville, comes up to ask inane questions, tripling the awkwardness quotient. If I hadn’t seen Maria Menounos “interviewing” America Ferrera at the Golden Globes, I’d call this the awkwardest moment ever.
Meredith watches her father’s awkwardness parade from a safe distance, wondering how she—a graceful princess, a true flower, not bony or hoarse in the least—could be related to such a clumsy man. Cristina retorts that Meredith is exactly like her father: she stammers constantly, talks nervously for no reason whatsoever, often has bits of food stuck to her face and hair—it’s like snack time at Philip Seymour Hoffman’s! Meredith fires some lame insults in self-defense but fails miserably.
Dr. Bailey pages Izzie to spinegirl’s room (the one from last week, with the vertebrae made of Silly String), where Izzie tries to act surprised when Shepherd announces that some anonymous batshit donor has ponied up $200K to pay for the girl’s procedure. Bailey of course knows the donor was Izzie.
Bailey follows Izzie out in the hall to confront her with some dubious MHMMs. She asks Izzie whether she spent all that cheddar simply so she could scrub in on a cool spine surgery. Izzie protests that no, she donated the money because poor spinegirl is miserable, and she wanted to help. Trouble is that Bailey was hoping Izzie had spent it simply so she could scrub in. She insists that Izzie must decide whether she’s a real surgeon or someone who gets emotionally involved—the two are mutually exclusive, so Izzie is officially not allowed to scrub in. ZING!!
After a requisite Space Needle flyby, we make a welcome return journey to the ever-popular SGH quasi-outdoor cafeteria. Dr. Torres pulls up at a table with Dr. Montgomery and babbles about how George kissed her during their urine-soaked revelry in Mr. O’Malley’s room the previous day. Callie keeps talking and talking as Addison just stares blankly, listening to nothing whatsoever. This must be what evenings at the Ford-Flockhart household are like.
Then, Montgomery suddenly blurts out that she aborted Dr. Sloan’s baby. EGGHHH. She confesses that she got pregnant with Sloan a while back but, despite Sloan’s giddiness about fatherhood, decided to get an abortion. The baby’s due date would’ve been, well… today! Oh great, a CAPRICORN. That baby would’ve been an asshole. Anyway, Montgomery tells La Torrecita that she did want a baby—but only a Derek Shepherd Limited Edition McBaby® and not some cheap Mark Sloan generic knockoff. She gets teary and says she feels like her life has gone nowhere. They share a nice, quasilesbian emotional moment, but no body fluids are exchanged. Actually, this is a nice scene.
In the O.R., Shepherd has begun ripping apart spinegirl’s vertebrae, which all the interns watch from the gallery. One of the interns asks Alex how things are going with Addison, which prompts all manner of stammering denials that just raise everyone’s suspicions. Suddenly, George gets paged and runs out. Then Meredith gets paged as well—something about Mr. O’Malley. Shocker! Down in the O.R., Dr. Torres notices the commotion and realizes something must be wrong. She asks Shepherd if she can leave the surgery. He’s incredulous, since this is her surgery and she asked to do it in the first place, but he lets her go.
“Hmm… maybe I shouldn’t have gone with the Xanax Dark Roast”
Bailey, it turns out, has summoned the entire O’Malley clan to a conference room to inform them that a kink has formed in Mr. O’Malley’s breathing tube, so they have to re-intubate him. Normally it’s a simple procedure, but in this case there’s so much post-surgery swelling in his esophagus that it may be impossible to get the tube back in. Bailey warns them that things might not turn out well.
Afterward, the O’Malleys wait miserably in the hallway, lined up against a wall. The scene is sad until one of George’s brothers starts farting uncontrollably, which prompts Mrs. O’Malley to crack up and suggest that he go take some charcoal pills. Who knew she was into alternative remedies? Maybe that explains George’s pallor. Anyway it’s an odd, but oddly endearing, scene.
As Bailey prepares to do Mr. O’Malley’s intubation, she clearly is sweating bullets. Webber reminds her that this is just a patient like any other and that she has to shake off her nerves. They take out Mr. O’Malley’s faulty tube, and then Bailey has a great deal of difficulty getting the new tube in. After a few tense moments, she gets a smaller tube in on her second try, her hands shaking. Aftereward, Bailey says she needs a few moments to herself. After all, Mr. O’Malley has a son who helped her deliver her own infant son, whose middle name is… George! It’s like Six Degrees of Intubation! I love this game.
At the end of the day, Meredith and Shepherd are back at home. He suggests that she try a minor laser surgery procedure to fix her snoring; she retorts that he needs to work on his shaving skills and look for a halitosis cure. Great relationship! Still not quite sure what it’s based on.
The next morning, Alex kisses Sloan’s ass and gives him a cappuccino exactly the way he likes it. He asks Sloan to let him scrub in on an upcoming rhinoplasty, but Sloan changes the subject—he asks whether Alex has been working with Dr. Montgomery and, if so, whether she seems especially miserable this week. Alex plays along and says Addison has been a real bitch, 100% miserable. Elated, Sloan grabs the coffee and tells Alex to fuck off.
In the little doctors-in-bunkbeds sleeping room, Cristina and Meredith complain that they haven’t slept in days. Haha! I KNEW Meredith’s “sleeping” from last episode was fake. Anyway, Meredith muses that George’s dad is apparently going into renal failure and will likely die, whereas her own dad is at the hospital every goddamn day, completely healthy, and if he died it wouldn’t make much difference to her at all. Ooh, The Pomp’s turning into a veritable Kierkegaard.
George asks Burke to go over Mr. O’Malley’s chart, anxious about his dad’s worsening condition. George implies that maybe Bailey’s nervousness during the intubation harmed his father, since he was without oxygen for a few minutes. But Burke insists no one is at fault—it’s simply that Mr. O’Malley’s body is diseased and has undergone tremendous trauma. George asks whether people ever recover from situations like his dad’s; Burke declines to give odds and says it’s pretty much up to fate. Kindly, Burke adds that if George wants him to pray alongside his faggot ass for his dad’s recovery, he’d be happy to do that. George is touched.
“You’ll note from my purple robe that I’m down with the lesbians”
In the waiting room, Mrs. O’Malley chats up spinegirl’s mother, who says her daughter survived surgery but now won’t wake up. George’s mom empathizes, saying they knew her husband’s surgery was dangerous going in, and frankly she was surprised the doctors went through with it. This sets off a light bulb in George, who suddenly realizes that his father must’ve pulled his O’Malleys-are-fighters shtick and bullied the doctors into going through with the surgery no matter what. Just then, a nurse comes in saying spinegirl finally woke up and is asking for her mother to bring her a miniskirt and some stilettos so she can go get laaaaaaaaid.
George runs out to the hall to confront Dr. Webber, asking why he proceeded with the surgery when Mr. O’Malley’s cancer had spread so much. Webber replies that doctors must always honor their patients’ wishes. Furious, George shouts that his dad didn’t know any better, and that if they’d just sewn him back up he could’ve had a few more weeks or even months at home. George explodes emotionally, and Bailey becomes very distraught.
Meanwhile, in pretty, self-absorbed land, Dr. Sloan whines to Dr. Montgomery about his continued respiratory/coughing ailment, saying he hates Seattle and wants to go home. Montgomery tells him to go right ahead, but he gets “emotional”—read: bad acting—and says that if she’d just agreed to have the baby they’d be home together in New York right now. Montgomery insists Sloan didn’t actually want a child, he just wanted to trump Dr. Shepherd and “win.” She complains that Sloan is such a bedhopper that they would’ve had a terrible relationship, and he in particular would’ve been a terrible father. In short, she wanted a baby, just not with him. HA! I love Addison’s delicate, indirect touch in re: sensitive issues.
Cristina comes into Burke’s room yet again and taunts him with a tray of food, implying he can’t have it unless he asks for it. Burke pushes the call button, and a nurse runs in, grabs the tray, and lets Burke eat. Frustrated, Cristina says she’s withholding Burke’s food just because she wants to know how his hand is doing. Genius! She leaves.
In the preemie ward, Dr. Montgomery checks the heartbeat of the cute plastic prop baby that’s meant to be Meredith’s half-niece. Alex comes in, and Addison smiles—both upstairs and downstairs, if you know what I mean—saying she hasn’t seen him in a few days. Apparently the baby’s condition has improved enormously, which makes Alex all giddy.
In tonight’s Tender Moment™, George shaves his sleeping dad’s face while fessing up to everything that he ever lied to his dad about as a child. He also urges his dad to fight a little harder and smack down that cancer. After all. he’s GEORGE DZUNDZA—if his career can survive appearances in both Dangerous Minds and Species II, his esophagus can survive anything.
At home, Izzie is high as a kite and baking like a maniac yet again—this time, about 20 dishes of cobbler, scattered all over the kitchen. Next week, maybe a sumptuous cassoulet or bathtub full of vichyssois for the whole Seattle Grace staff. Voilà! Anyway, Meredith comes in, asking whether she does in fact snore. Izzie confirms, then waxes empathetic about George and his dad. She laments that she has all the money in the world now, yet it won’t do anything to save George from his impending loss. Cobbler, though, makes it all better.
Back at the hospital, Callie and Sloan have an encounter that involves all manner of awkward, wide-eyed staring. He asks whether Callie thinks he would make a terrible father. She quizzes him a bit, ascertaining that Sloan 1) doesn’t like kids, 2) isn’t big on family, and 3) always forgets birthdays and anniversaries. IT’S A MATCH!! Callie counters proudly that to some men, family is everything… and she’s lucky enough to know one of those men. Awww! Anyway, Sloan realizes, finally, that he would indeed make a terrible father.
In the conference room, Webber and Bailey inform the O’Malleys of the sad news that Mr O’Malley’s organs are shutting down and he’s now entirely dependent on life support. So they can keep him plugged in until nature runs its course, or they can make the decision to shut the machine off.
“Whaddya mean PULL HIS PLUG?!? My contract was for FOUR EPISODES!”
Ironically, George’s macho brothers weep while George himself remains grave but calm. The family turns to George for advice, since he’s the doctor. Aww, he’s become the man of the house! A true faggot indeed! Anyway, George says that Mr. O’Malley is likely in pain and can’t breathe, and that pain medication can only do so much. Mrs. O’Malley asks whether George thinks it’s time to let their dad go. George turns toward Bailey and Webber, who say they just can’t offer him advice on this.
The next morning, Meredith’s half-sister’s plastic preemie baby is still alive and well. As Thatcher Grey watches over the baby, Meredith comes in and initiates a conversation for once, saying she’s only ever heard her mother’s version of why Thatcher left the family, so she’d like to hear his side of the story too. So Thatcher says Meredith’s… mother… moved… to Boston… and he… she… MY GOD STOP TALKING SO HALTINGLY. Anyway Ellis asked him never to call or come around. Eventually he remarried, got settled again, and tried to learn to say more than three words in a row without stopping but never got the hang of it. Meredith asks whether he snores, and he says yes indeed he does. Aww, they’re bonding over annoying respiratory afflictions! Gotta start somewhere I guess.
“I… uh… is that… are you… Renée Zellweger?”
Cristina, meanwhile, sits in Burke’s room. For a moment, they look at each other as if about to speak, but then Shepherd comes in and interrupts them to say that the familiy has decided to let Mr. O’Malley go. Burke glances briefly at Cristina, then looks back at Shepherd and informs him that he hasn’t had any hand tremors in more than a week. Yay, way to compromise, CONDOLEEZZA.
And then UGH, we have the inevitable bedside unplug-from-life-support scene for Mr. O’Malley. With the family gathered around, Bailey takes the tube out, and all the O’Malley hordes grasp/kiss their great patriarch’s hands/foreheads/cheeks as he goes under. Notably, George doesn’t cry but merely maintains a pained, half-smiling expression on his face. NNNNGH this scene is depressing.
George prefers to mourn dad by passing kidney stones three at a time
When all is said and done, George walks out, past all the interns who are waiting in the hallway. A few moments after he passes, Cristina stomps off after him purposefully. After noticing that spinegirl is walking upright—quick recovery!—Izzie goes over to Bailey, who’s sitting miserably on a bed down the hall. Izzie tells Bailey that she’s both a surgeon and a person who gets emotionally involved. She promises never to cross the infamous Denny Line again, but she is who she is, and she’s not apologizing. Bailey, put in her place by the experience with Mr. O’Malley, assents.
“Damn… nothing like grief to make a girl gassy”
Outside, Cristina approaches George and tells him that there’s a “dead dads club,” since you can’t really sympathize with someone who’s lost their father until you yourself lose your own. Awesome! What’s the secret handshake? Anyway, she admits that her own father died when she was 9, and she’s very sorry for George’s loss. She then informs him helpfully that he’ll probably never get over his dad’s death. Nice! I nominate Cristina for SECRETARY OF COMFORT AND SUCCOUR.
And after work, Dr. Montgomery drinks her adulterous, abortionous troubles away in Joe’s bar. Alex comes in, notes Addison’s awfully low-cut dress, and asks whether he might stick his stout between her alewives, if you know what I mean. They exchange some mutually pitying words and then, inevitably, make out.
“Psst… I do sport the firecrotch, you know”
Finally, Meredith is back home in bed, snoring promptly once again. This time, though, she’s left earplugs on the pillow so Shepherd can get through the night—a little trick her dad taught her earlier. Just when things are looking all happy and nice, OH GREAT, the episode ends with a shot of them SPOONING.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!!
* * * * * * *
Just like a nice George Dzundza cameo, all good things must come to an end—sadly, this will be my last TVgasm recap. I was great friends with B-Side and J-Unit in college and have been an occasional writer ever since the two of them founded this site in 2004. From the 2004 elections and the 2006 Golden Globes to the ridiculous three-hour Grey’s Anatomy season finale and the hilarity of Oprah’s Legends Ball, it’s been a lot of fun, and I thank them for the opportunity. But my free time keeps shrinking, so I think it’s time to move on. But never fear! J-Unit will be taking over Grey’s Anatomy, so everything is in great hands—in fact, much better hands, since his recaps 1) will be much more timely and 2) will feature far less wanton capitalization and overuse of the word “flava.”
I’ll still be in the forums and comments and am reachable at mruvtvgasm at gmail dot com. Finally, since I never got around to appearing in a live webcast, some of you are may still be wondering what I look like. So at long last, for your viewing pleasure, a quick peek. Hope that you’ve enjoyed all the recaps and that you continue to enjoy the merry adventures of The Pomp & company. And Kate Walsh… call me!